In 2011, China will start pilot projects in five provinces, all of which have low birth rates, to allow a second birth if at least one spouse is an only child, says He Yafu, an independent demographer who is in close contact with policymakers.
Beijing, Shanghai and four other provinces will follow suit in 2012, with nationwide implementation by 2013 or 2014, he says.
The push to change the rule is essentially two-fold. First, more children are needed to care for an aging population. Second, there are now too many men and not enough women to marry them because of the strong cultural preference for boys.
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